Author Archives: Erik Brooks

Going Big With Little Free Libraries

Little Free Library

So, you might remember in June that we put a call out to local residents interested in giving Caterpillar’s former Little Free Library a good home. We had a great response. Eleven people said they wanted one of these in front of their homes!

So we began wondering, “How can we say ‘yes’ to everyone who asked?’”

Well, we’re proud to announce that everyone who asked for one, will get one. That is due to a generous donation of time and expertise from local woodworker Larry Oleson.

I just met Larry a few weeks ago, and if you’ve driven down 15th Avenue near City Hall over the years, you may know some of his work. His carved wood (and some metal) pieces adorn the front of his house 2413 15th Ave., and he has even more terrific works in his garage, from tables and chairs to wooden animals.

He’s also no stranger to Little Free Libraries. He’s constructed more than a dozen over the years.

So when I asked him about taking this on, Larry was more than happy to help.

So was Ace Hardware, which is donating paint and stain for the project, and the South Milwaukee Library, which is donating some of the wood (from old library shelves) that Larry will use and provide some books for the libraries, as needed.

The plan: Larry now has the list of people who expressed interest in the libraries and will begin construction soon. The goal is to have everyone their free library by the time the snow flies, starting with the one from Cat.

I am really excited about this community partnership, and I want to thank Caterpillar, Ace, the library and especially Larry for his contributions.

This is why I love South Milwaukee!

Be sure to check out Larry’s work for yourself at his home. Give him a call first at 414-764-6786. Tell him I said hi, and please thank him personally for stepping up to help with this project.


Filed under Caterpillar, Library, Local Business, South Milwaukee

Disappointing Caterpillar Earnings And Other Headlines

Check out these South Shore headlines …

And NOW has published a new police blotter.

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Filed under Headlines, South Milwaukee

What A Weekend: What’s Happening Around Town

Lion slide

Heritage Days is off to a great start, including a Firehouse Spaghetti Dinner on Wednesday that soared past last year’s attendance figures and a stepped-up Evening on the Avenue celebration last night.

And we’re just getting started! Here is what’s on tap this weekend …

  • Friday: South Milwaukee Lionsfest begins, with the car cruise and car show, fish dinner, and music by the Cheap Shots and Mount Olive.
  • Saturday: It’s Heritage Days Parade day, starting at 11 a.m. Then it’s the Friends of Mill Pond Duck Race at 2 p.m., and more Lionsfest (rib dinner, music by Pat McCurdy, Jamit and 76th Juliet).
  • Sunday: Be on the lookout for the #MKELion as Lionsfest continues with Family Day activities, chicken and music by The Do-Wa-Wa. Also check out Ability Fest at Wil-o-Way Grant Park, as we celebrate 25 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act. More details here and here.

Check out the full Heritage Days schedule here. And here is the detailed Lionsfest schedule.

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Filed under Events, South Milwaukee

Dye Job: Mill Pond Going Green (Briefly) As Part Of Water Quality Testing Initiative

A note from the South Milwaukee Health Department …

In a project sponsored by the Fund for Lake Michigan, the City of South Milwaukee Health Department is working in cooperation with the City of Racine Health Department to analyze water quality within the Oak Creek Watershed. The results of the water quality project will be used to inform a larger Oak Creek Watershed Study planned to begin in 2016. As part of the water quality testing effort, on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m., the City of Racine Health Department will conduct a study to determine water circulation patterns within the Mill Pond. A green fluorescent dye will be applied to the water to allow the visualization of circulation patterns. The dye being used is non-toxic and is commonly used to trace water currents, municipal plumbing, among other applications. The dye will naturally fade within several hours. The application of this dye will be used to help interpret other water quality results from the Mill Pond.

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Filed under South Milwaukee

Moody’s Affirms City’s Strong Bond Rating

I am proud of how the city manages its finances — taxpayer money, your money. Our Moody’s bond rating supports that belief.

The independent rating agency has reaffirmed our bond rating as Aa2, based in part on the city’s “sound financial operations.” You can see the full report, tied to our upcoming bond sale, here.

I’d like to thank all of our departments heads and staff for their work in getting us to this point, and the city council for supporting responsible budgets that help us live within our means.

This rating is really strong by comparison — just two steps below Moody’s highest Aaa rating — and besides being a reflection of our responsibility as financial steward, it also has practical value. It means we can borrow money at lower interest rates, which continues to result in real savings for the city.

Of course, there are risks to this rating going forward, and the reports notes those. Nothing is guaranteed. And improving from an Aa2 is very difficult. Nonetheless, I still see my job as driving, as Moody’s puts it, “sustained growth and expansion of the city’s tax base and economy.” That work is just getting started, and even brighter days are ahead.

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Filed under City Council, South Milwaukee

Tragic News From Cudahy: Woman Found Dead In Submerged Car

From the City of Cudahy Facebook page …

At 8:23 a.m. the Cudahy Police Department received a 911 call reporting a vehicle was submerged in a retention pond located on the property of the Walnut Ridge Condominium Complex at 6250 S Walnut Lane. The caller did not know if the vehicle was occupied. The Cudahy Police Department and Fire Department responded and advised the vehicle was occupied at least one time and requested mutual aid for an Advance Life Support Ambulance from the city of South Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Fire Department Dive Rescue Team. An elderly female was located inside the vehicle and transported to an area hospital. The elderly female was pronounced deceased at the hospital at approximately 9:36 a.m. The Wisconsin State Patrol is on scene
reconstructing the accident site. This incident is under investigation by the Cudahy Police Department and the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Please keep this woman’s family in your prayers.

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Filed under Cudahy, South Milwaukee

Heritage Days Are Here!

It’s the best week of the year to be a South Milwaukeean … we’ll see you at one of these terrific events.

Full details at

Heritage Days schedule 2

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Filed under Events, South Milwaukee